The much-anticipated series of public open houses will start June 23 to help the city determine the future of flood-damaged city buildings.
And Wednesday evening, the City Council hired OPN Architects Inc. of Cedar Rapids for $400,000 to help lead the several-month process.
OPN not only will help conduct the public open houses, but the firm also will provide design and planning options and an analysis of the costs involved in renovating buildings or building new ones.
OPN’s contract runs from May 28 through Oct. 31 and may be renewed in 60-day increments.
Among the key flood-damaged buildings under discussion will be the library, the Paramount Theatre, the Ground Transportation Center bus depot, the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall, the Public Works Building and the existing federal courthouse, which the city is scheduled to assume ownership of once the new federal courthouse opens in the fall of 2012.
Sufficient damage was done to the library that it will be rebuilt not renovated, and the city’s library board already has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allow the city to rebuild the library on a different site.
The council also will be interested in hearing about proposals to build a new City Hall, called a community services center, a new Public Safety Training Center and a new community operations center, which would house city departments like fleet maintenance, streets and solid waste.
Only city government is left to participate in the lengthy process to get public input on facilities.
Some months ago, both Linn County government and the Cedar Rapids school district were involved in the facilities process when the idea was that the differing jurisdictions might “co-locate” in a shared facility.
The county dropped out a few months ago, saying they wanted to move faster than the city. The school district dropped out this month.